Zach DeCook has been a Hymnary staff member for 2 1/2 years, first as a student intern and then as a full-timer since June 2018. He is one of the many Hymnary unsung (pun intended) heroes, attending to a wide variety of behind-the-scenes duties that are integral to the success of the site.
It's a challenge he enjoys. "In a typical week at Hymnary," he says, "I'll work on new developments for Hymnary, review code, discuss implementation details with co-workers and deploy changes onto the site."
There are also the more frequent daily tasks, not unique to Hymnary: things like keeping up on emails and monitoring developer chat channels, for example. But it's all work that in the end keeps Hymnary humming (pun intended).
And it's work the west Michigan native finds extremely gratifying.
"I find great value in being able to start a project and see it through to completion," he says. "Most of our projects require just a single developer, so I have a high level of control in how I approach a problem. Another great thing is the environment. The beautiful ambience of keyboards clacking and mice clicking reminds me that I'm not alone. Not to mention the great collaboration and conversations we have together."
Zach, a Calvin computer science graduate with a minor in mathematics, also enjoys the vastness of the Hymnary data and appreciates that hymnals aren't just old books filled with older songs, they're collections of the best songs of generations.
He adds: "There's nothing more effective for indoctrination than a catchy tune or a poetic line. Hymnary is important for cataloging the theological messages that have taken hold of minds for years. Hymnary shows you the popularity of a text over time. So many of the great songs that we sing have been around for centuries. Although different theologies wax and wane, Hymnary makes sure that hymns won't be lost to history."
In his spare time Zach enjoys playing music, tending to his 3D printer, maintaining a personal website, non-fiction reading and more.